The hint comes as part of Sony’s response to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which is currently investigating Microsoft’s purchase of Call of Duty developer Activision.
Sony has argued that Microsoft buying the developer raises the threat that it could limit the Call of Duty franchise to the Xbox. That would give the console an unfair advantage, its rival claims, and it has suggested that dominance could allow Microsoft to increase prices and harm customers in other ways.
In response, Microsoft has said that it will keep the Call of Duty franchise on the Xbox until 2027, in an attempt to limit concerns. Sony has continued to express worry, however, and pressed for the deal to be cancelled.
Those concerns have led to an investigation by UK regulators, who will decide whether the acquisition of Activision should go ahead.
In its latest filings with those regulators, Sony says that the 2027 deadline would mean that the next generation of PlayStation console could launch without Call of Duty games, putting it at a disadvantage. That suggests the PlayStation 6 is due to be launched after that date.
There is no indication that the lawyers writing the document have information on any upcoming console, and the schedule may be based only on the timing of previous new console releases. But it suggests at the very least that Sony is already concerned about the future generations of its PlayStation.
“Microsoft has offered to continue making Activision’s games available on PlayStation only until 2027,” Sony’s filing with the CMA reads. “Likewise, in public comments just on October 26, Microsoft said that it plans to offer Call of Duty on PlayStation only ‘as long as that makes sense’.”
It then goes on to name a time when the “likely” release of the console will come. Though that part is redacted as a business secret, the wording shows that the date must fall after 2027.
“By the time [Sony] launched the next generation of its PlayStation console (which is likely to occur around [redacted]), it would have lost access to Call of Duty and other Activision titles, making it extremely vulnerable to consumer switching and subsequent degradation in its competitiveness.”
It then goes on to use the example of EA’s relatively unsuccessful Battlefield franchise to show that creating a new competitor to Call of Duty would prove difficult.
“Even assuming that SIE had the ability and resources to develop a similarly successful franchise to Call of Duty, it would take many, many years and billions of dollars to create a challenger to Call of Duty – and the example of EA’s Battlefield shows that any such efforts would more than likely be unsuccessful.”